When it comes down to it, the first and foremost advocate for your health must be you. As women, we often get bogged down with multiple responsibilities, either self-inflicted or imposed, and end up neglecting our own health. Symptoms of fibroids can be pushed aside for years, which is a shame, as uterine fibroids can really cramp your style.
Why is Getting Medical Attention for Uterine Fibroids so Important?
As the symptoms of fibroids are almost always not life threatening, many women defer seeking treatment. This delay in dealing with uterine fibroids can then cause the following complications:
• Anemia caused by heavy bleeding during periods
• Increasing loss of work due to pain and abnormal bleeding
• Infertility issues and pregnancy complications:
• Sex becoming painful
Anemia is a condition in which the body does not produce enough healthy red blood cells, resulting in an insufficient amount of hemoglobin in the body. Symptoms can include weakness, dizziness, pale skin, headache, numbness or coldness in hands and feet and low body temperature. In more serious cases, anemia can result in abnormal heart beat, shortness of breath and chest pain.
Pain during periods is a serious issue which many women minimalize as a fact of life. While experiencing some pain, associated with normative cramping, is within the spectrum of normal, extreme pain that can result from uterine fibroids and other gynecological disorders can reach a level that is debilitating, resulting in inability to work or otherwise function properly.
What Role Does Nutrition Play?
“You are what you eat” is not just a tiresome, overused saying. The food you eat is the fuel your body uses to accomplish all the physical and mental tasks you have on your list. For example, in mild cases of the above-mentioned issue of anemia, it can be at least partially managed by eating iron-rich foods, such as liver, various types of beans and lentils, dried figs and apricots and oatmeal. If one were to be living off a diet of snack food, white bread and sausages, the body would not be receiving the fuel it needs (iron, in this case) in order to function properly.
Women suffering from heavy bleeding often have a lack of iron, vitamin D, folate and vitamin B12. These can be obtained through taking supplements but concentrating on a diet rich in meats, grains and produce can be of help.
Guidelines for Proper Nutrition
Regardless of your fibroids, it is important to take care of your overall health, which includes following a healthy and balanced diet. Not to intentionally complicate matters, but each European country has created its own model for proper nutritional guidelines. The UK has an Eatwell Plate, while the Spanish model is based on a Food Wheel. The Irish have created a Food Pyramid, whereby the base of the pyramid and therefore the most recommended servings per day are in the bread and cereals category. The Swiss, while also featuring a pyramid, have the base emphasizing hydration, followed by the next smaller category of fruits and vegetables and only then a smaller category of breads and other grains. Belgium agrees with the Swiss on emphasizing hydration, in that this is also their largest category, but Belgium has breads and cereals as a larger recommended number of daily portions than fruits and vegetables.
With all the wide and varied models, a few rules do hold true overall. Fats and sugars are to be minimized. Emphasis is on real foods with real nutrients to give your body the fuel it needs.
Sleep is Important, Too
The experts at the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) state that “most of us need around eight hours of good-quality sleep per night to function properly.” Sleep gives us energy and boosts the immune system, plus helps to relax, refresh the mind, revitalize physical health and keep weight in check.
What’s more, a lack of sleep can affect your mood to the point of developing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. In fact, sadness and frustration over health concerns are extremely common, but you have a choice about how to handle those feelings. Some elect to use pain as a springboard to accomplish incredible things!
But back to sleep. Sometimes, obtaining this wonder-drug called sleep isn’t as easy as it should be. The NHS recommends taking the following steps to foster better sleep habits:
• Create a relaxing environment – develop a routine and remove distractions.
• Take control over worries – deal with troublesome issues earlier in the day so they can’t disrupt at bed time.
• Make lifestyle changes – energetic activities and large meals should be scheduled for earlier in the day. Avoid caffeine and alcohol toward night time.
• Nicotine should be avoided all together.
Taking Care of the Whole You:
• Keep on top of your personal medical situation. The biggest authority on what’s going on with your body is YOU.
• Get medical attention when necessary. You have a lot on your plate and to handle it, you need to be in tip-top form. Fibroid treatment doesn’t present itself independently out of the woodwork. Visit your doctor.
• Eat right. Cut the junk and fuel up on The Good Stuff.
• Go to bed! Really, sticking to a realistic, healthy bedtime is essential.
• Give 30 days to our Fitness Challenge to look better and feel better.
Empowerment is a process, but it is a process that each and every person is capable of handling. Some prefer to pair up with a friend or friends and cheer each other on, while some prefer to go it alone. The power to make these choices and act on them lies solely within each individual… including you.